The Exponential Growth of Rich Internet Application

The rise of rich internet applicationResearch proves that significant improvement in online customer experience can boost revenue gains in a huge way. With rapid technology advancements, companies are looking for better user experience for their customers by simplifying the way of interaction with the websites. The more software experiences become like the natural world, the more users are pleased with those experiences. With the paradigm shift in the world of technology, developers are creating user interfaces which are closely associated with the natural world. RIA or Rich Internet Application is one such revolution that supports rich graphics and streaming media scenarios while providing most of the deployment and maintainability benefits of a Web Application.

A Rich Internet Application (RIA) is a Web-based application designed to deliver the same features and functions normally associated with desktop applications. Built with powerful development tools, RIAs generally split the processing across the network divided by locating the user interface and related activity and capability on the client side, and the data manipulation and operation on the application server side. They can offer users a better visual experience and more interactivity than traditional browser applications that use only HTML and HTTP.

Key Benefits of RIA Developments
  • Interactive user interface elements which are more engaging, robust and visually attractive than traditional HTML apps
  • Cross-platform and cross-browser support
  • Broader reach and faster processing with the ability to load data faster without the need to refresh the entire web page
  • Real-time data monitoring by users from anywhere and anytime through remote access
  • No major software installation is needed
  • Superior responsive UI; e.g. applications are responsive to cloud computing services
  • Improved user satisfaction and partner productivity since RIA offers single application view
  • Simplified online transactions excluding multi-page and multi-step transaction which allows the user to remain in the initial environment
  • Higher measurable benefits including higher conversion rates
  • Increased Customer acquisition rate due to improved customer experience
  • Improved customer loyalty due to customer’s seamless communication experience with the host servers
  • Reduced operational and infrastructure cost
  • Low deployment and maintenance cost
Common RIA Development Platforms

IT Professionals are serving globally with their technical expertise of developing Rich Internet Applications, by using advanced development tools like Ajax Frameworks, Silverlight, JavaFX, HTML5, AngularJS, Adobe Flex and Adobe AIR, JavaScript Object Notation (JSON), Google Web Toolkit (GWT) etc.. Professional web development companies around the world use many additional techniques to enhance productivity in RIA development, customized for different industries.

Let’s take a closer look at few of the widely used RIA development frameworks in the recent time:

JavaFX

JavaFX is a next-generation client UI toolkit built by Sun Microsystems, essentially for desktop and a wide variety of connected devices. It is developed as an open source project, OpenJFX, through contributions from individual professionals and other companies along the lines of OpenJDK. JavaFX is a set of graphics and media packages that enable developers to design, create, test, debug, and deploy rich client applications that operate consistently across diverse platforms. The current release (JavaFX 8, July 2016) enables building applications for desktop, browser and mobile phones and comes with 3D support. RIA for mobile phones is called Rich Mobile Application. Among other platforms, TV set-top boxes, gaming consoles, Blu-ray players are future considerations.

Microsoft Silverlight

Microsoft Silverlight is a powerful development platform for building RIAs that are not just engaging and interactive but are also compatible with multiple browsers, operating systems as well as devices. Silverlight is a free plug-in, powered by the .Net framework and compatible with cross browsers and multiple Operating Systems, bringing a new level of interactivity wherever the Web works. This is, in fact, a significant tool to enable developers to escape the hassle of deploying applications through both web and mobile as well. This programmable web browser plug-in enriches Internet Application experience for users by creating various features such as animation, vector graphics and audio-video playback.

HTML5

HTML5 has been the current development in the RIA movement. It is a blend of HTML 4, JavaScript, CSS, JavaScript libraries and Flash into a single specification that leverages the API model. This is in-built with many new syntactical features and comes with <audio>, <video> and <canvas> elements as well as integration of SVG content. These new elements allow easy integration of multimedia and graphical content to web without using Flash and third party plugins. To enhance relevant web solutions, it also offers new elements like <section>, <article>, <header> and <nav> which upgrades the semantic enrichment of the document.

AJAX

AJAX is another commonly used technology to develop RIAs. AJAX is nothing but Asynchronous JavaScript and XML. This web development technology is commonly used for creating dynamic net applications and permits for asynchronous data retrieval without having to reload the web page a User is on. This new technique is aimed to create better, faster, and deeply interactive web applications with the help of XML, HTML, CSS, and Java Script. Ajax uses XHTML for content, CSS for presentation, along with Document Object Model and JavaScript for dynamic content display.  AJAX is widely adopted as it comes with many benefits such as the ability to be deployable to any browser, integrated with rich functionality with smaller and more frequent updates. Choose AJAX, if you want to make your website SEO friendly and revamp your existing website to achieve business-specific goals.

Traditional Web Applications vs. Rich Internet Applications

RIA is more complex as compared to traditional web applications. This is due to the violating some of the core characteristics of traditional web applications by RIAs. In order to understand the significant difference between traditional web applications and RIA, we need to dig deep into the subject matter.

  • Rich Assets: Text-based vs. interaction based

There is this fundamental difference between the traditional website and RIA which is based on the richness of assets. A traditional website is mainly Text-based (including few images) irrespective of the type of the website (blog, forum, e-commerce or news website) or type of technology (Static HTML, Java or .NET framework) used in it. On the other hand, RIAs are Interaction-based which has added rich assets like Audio, Graphics, Video, Transition and Effect within it.

  • Rich Experience: Paradigm shift for UX

The blessings of RIA come as a rich User Experience. UX has witnessed a paradigm shift with RIA to enable users the access to more information easily. The interaction-based model of a well-built RIA helps to create a ‘WOW’ factor for the users in this aspect.

  • Rich Functionality

RIAs can implement advance functions way beyond traditional web pages powered up by latest technologies such as Microsoft Silverlight, JavaFX, Adobe Flex/Flash, AJAX, Angular JS and so on. For instance, when we work with Google Docs or Adobe Photoshop, we already feel like working with a desktop application.

  • Rich Communication: Asynchronous Communication Method

In the traditional web application, Synchronous Communication Method is used i.e. whenever a user asks for something, an HTTP request is sent to the server and users have to wait for the response from the server. This definitely generates a negative impact on the usability of the application. On the contrary, RIA uses Asynchronous Communication Method which allows it to act it in a faster, efficient and user-friendly way.

  • The Power of Client Machine

A traditional web application often puts a huge workload on the server side. Regardless of its development platforms, the server has to maintain user session, process the request and render result etc. RIA, on the other hand, utilizes the benefits of client machine by executing most of the functions locally and installing a browser plug-in rather than treating the client-side only as a browser in order to display the final page.

Conclusion

The long-term benefits of accessibility, portability, reliability and scalability in the website built through Rich Internet Applications developed by web professionals, offers a promising web experience for the end users. With the long list of RIA frameworks, more and more companies are taking a giant leap towards superior web presence for users since a deeper customer engagement is the key to an organization’s success in this global business environment.